While many students don’t have a problem making friends if they’re homeschooled, others find this more difficult. This might because they personally struggle to socialize with others in different situations, or it could be for reasons outside their control, such as having parents who aren’t as social as their children. Either way, with just a little bit of effort, there are many ways homeschoolers can socialize and make friends – especially if they live close to a vibrant social hub.
In this article, we’ll talk about 10 different ways you can make friends including:
- getting to know your neighbors
- joining a sports club
- making friends with the kids at church
- joining a homeschooling co-op
- participating in your local homeschooling group
- being nice and listening more than you speak
- joining a debating club
- joining community classes
- getting a job
- making your family your friends
Let’s get started and learn how homeschoolers can make friends!
If you’re homeschooled, you might wonder how you’ll get to know others if you don’t go to school. You’ll be glad to know that socializing when you’re homeschooled isn’t that different from socializing if you go to school. While you may look in different places for friends, you can find a more diverse group of people to spend time. In a homeschool situation, the people you make friends with might be very old or quite young. But, this will give you a richer socializing experience and make you more able to interact with older and younger people when you graduate your secondary years.
But, let’s dive in and take a closer look at where you can go to make friends when you’re homeschooled.
1. Get to know your neighbors
A great way to make friends is to get to know your neighbors. Many of us only wave or talk to one another as we come or go from our houses, but getting to know our neighbors on a deeper level can bring us richer relationships with the people we live closest too. It almost seems a shame not to invest in that relationship when you’re so close.
There are also advantages to making friends with your neighbors. That is, your neighbors are always there, so you can help each other out. If they need you to water their garden or feed their cat when they’re away for holidays, you can help them out. If you’re missing a can of coconut milk for your Thai curry, you can pop over to your neighbors and ask them if they have one.
When I was homeschooled, our neighbors asked us to housesit for them which involved getting the mail and feeding their cat or dog. This also had additional benefits as we could ask them to look after our animals when we went away – and we usually had plenty of animals as a homeschool family!
2. Join sports clubs
If you join a sports club, you won’t fail to make friends. Because the nature of sports means people congregate in areas before the event, if you talk to people and smile, you’ll probably make loads of friends! If you’re playing team sports, you’ll find this is especially the case as not only do you spend time together but you bond as you strategize to beat the other team. You also celebrate little wins here and there as you coordinate your play.
After the event, many sports teams go out and socialize a little more so they can get to know each other better.
In addition to these benefits, you can also get fitter, manage your weight, lower your chance of getting ailments, and improve your sleep if you play a sport. So, go on, why not see what your local soccer team is up to!
3. Make friends with the kids at your church
Another great way to garner friends is to get to know them at your local church. Church children are often polite and good influences, and so they make great friends! Church friends might also stay with you a lot longer than you might find sports friends do.
In addition, homeschoolers can find great mentors in the church who will seek to grow them in their faith and encourage them in their life journey. These mentors might be a little older which will mean social influences will be coming from those who are ‘older and wiser’.
(You can also get more ideas about how to socialize homeschoolers by asking other homeschooling parents in your church. Ask them what social activities they do during the week and how often they do it. We used to try to socialize at least three times a week and I understand this is about average for many home educating families)
4. Join a homeschooling co-op
You can’t go past a homeschooling co-op if you want to make friends! Homeschooling co-ops are great places where families pool resources or participate in weekly courses together. Whole families can even study together throughout the week and get to know each other even better.
Because classes are regular, this is a great place to meet other homeschooling families. Later on, you’ll have the opportunity to get to know them socially outside the co-op.
5. Participate in your local homeschooling group
There are many social groups for homeschoolers in our community that we often don’t know about until we search for them. I find the easiest way to find your local homeschooling group is to do a Facebook search for them. Why on Earth Homeschool has these instructions on how to find your local homeschooling group:
- Go to Facebook.
- Click on the search bar and type in your area and then the word ‘homeschoolers’ after. For example, if you live in Bowral, in the Southern Highlands, type in ‘Bowral homeschoolers’. If you do so, you will find…nothing. So try ‘homeschoolers Bowral’. Again you will find nothing. Try to think of the suburbs around you.
- For example, Mittagong and Moss Vale are both 5-10 minutes from Bowral. Again, nothing. Try a region like ‘Southern Highlands homeschoolers’. And voila! You will get Southern Highlands Homeschoolers (of which I know half the homeschoolers! Go guys!). You’ll also get The Homeschoolers of the Southern Highlands. But, the problem is both these groups have less than 10 members!
- So, you also want to try the word ‘home educators’ in place of homeschoolers. When you type home educators southern highlands, you get the ‘Southern Highlands Home Educators’ group popping up. It has 69 members. Now you’ve hit the jackpot. If you connect with that group, you may also be able to connect to closed groups that are hidden to the public.
If you’re not a fan of Facebook (and I completely understand this!), you can do a quick Google search and see what you come up with. Once you have a phone number and know one homeschooling family, you can ask them to introduce you to other homeschooling families. After this, there’s no stopping homeschoolers from socializing!
6. Be nice and listen more than you speak
Another great way to make friends if you’re homeschooled is to be a nice person and listen more than you speak. Nice people can’t help but attract friends because they often give more than they receive.
One of the best ways to be a loving person is to listen more than you speak. Because we all love the sound of our own voice, a friend who is a good listener is a rare find. What a breath of fresh air it is to have a friend who is happy to listen to you thoughtfully without interrupting constantly.
Although we want our homeschoolers to be successful and make arguments coherently, we also want them to be socially aware and caring for those around them. We want them to put others first and consider their needs.
7. Join a debating club
If you’re wondering how to socialize homeschoolers, you might think about joining a debating club. Debating clubs are a great way to make homeschooling friends because you have to work together in teams of two to four to make cohesive arguments against your debating opponents.
In addition, debating has many benefits such as:
- getting students to make cohesive arguments
- requiring them to rehash their dodgy arguments so they hold water more tightly
- boosting their self-confidence
- improving their public speaking skills
- teaching them how to take good notes and
- teaching them how to argue convincingly and graciously.
If there’s no debating club near you, why not make one yourself. It’s easy – all you need to do is think up a few debating topics, invite your friends (and perhaps advertise it publicly if you wish), and you’ll have a solid base of friends coming to you!
8. Join community classes
In addition to the ideas above, if you live in a community, you’ll find there are plenty of clubs, classes, and events happening every week. You can often find details of these events in your local community building, such as your council building, library or community hall.
9. Get a job
Teenagers can make friends if they get a job. In an age where hard work isn’t valued among youth, a job is a great way to develop perseverance and earn some money to boot! It will also teach young adults new skills which they can sometimes use throughout their lives. Teens will soon begin to feel like they belong and are useful to society which will give them a confidence boost.
Of course, a workplace can be a challenging arena for homeschooled children as they start exiting the safety of home for the outside world. For this reason, parents should carefully assess if their teens are ready to make this step and face potentially difficult and harsh influences in their lives. For this reason, many homeschoolers start with a part-time job for several years.
10. Make your family your friends
Don’t forget your family! Our family is often the best source of friends. Sometimes we can be so caught up in making friends outside our family that we forget to have fun with the people we are closest to.
So why not take your parents on a friend-date and ask them if they want to go for a surf with you. You never know – they might say yes!
When you look at the options, there are so many ways to make friends if you’re homeschooled. In fact, there are probably more ways to do this than if you attended school! You can easily build a solid network of people to spend time with by looking at these options closely and seeing what fits you and your family. When there are so many options around you, it’s easy to make friends if you’re homeschooled.